Bulgaria is undoubtedly rich in a variety of natural features but did you know that one of the most unique of those is located only 40 km away from Sofia? Exactly, I am talking about the Dragoman marsh, a place of great admiration, both from historical and natural point of view. That’s why I decided I wanted to dedicate part of my favorite project “One Place, Two Seasons” to it.
I do not know how to best describe Dragoman swamp beyond the scientific terms, but it is somewhat full of mysticism and beauty, a beauty that you can not see in many places neither in Bulgaria nor in Europe. Is it because of the simple fact that the marsh area is a mixture of wetlands and karst hills that are home to rare plant and animal species, or because with every step on the built wooden path, you are instantly transported into a totally different and unknown world.
That is how our Dragoman adventure begins!
I visited the place for the first time in winter when everything was stifled and “sleeping” in beautiful winter colors, creating a breathtaking landscape. The route starts from a path, along the road, that leads to the “entrance” of the marsh. From there you will start your transition to the magical world of the Dragoman swamp.
You will first notice two things – the wooden path that will take you to the core of the marsh, and then the yellow observation tower, which has become a symbol of the place. After the first steps on the path, the road is divided into two (right and left). We headed first to the tower (right) as it is the near by stop. Climbing to the tower is easy, just be careful and take the big climb of ten steps and give yourself an incredible panoramic view from the cabin, you will not regret for a moment!
Continuing on the left side of the trail you will find yourself within the actual part of the swamp. You will be surrounded by withered reeds that look like dug golden spears in the icy waters of the swamp. Under the water can be seen frozen plants, arranged like a representation of high art painting, and every now and then you can also notice a tortoise in hibernation.
I have to confess that I visited a marsh in the winter season for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised by the silence and the beautiful scenery I saw. It was inspiring and I understand why is this place a truly special and unique creation of nature.
After a patient count of several months, we headed to the same place in the late summer months to see what the differences are. I think that by looking at the pictures you can answer the question yourself. The swamp was blooming in its full capacity, from a quiet and humble place it had become a total green and damp jungle.
I will not hide the fact that after the first few steps I took my eyes filled with happiness, like a toddler in front of a playground. Just looking at all the greenery and listening to the many sounds of animals like varieties of birds, frogs, and some other unrecognizable creature, it raised some adventurous emotions in me, and it pushed me even harder to escape the wooden path and plunge into the atmosphere of that marsh kingdom.
I was really pleasantly surprised to see what a real transformation has happened to this place, and I’m glad to have visited the swamp in these two seasons to prove once again how colorful and different the life of Mother Nature can be. This is also my message to all of you – it doesn’t matter how many different places you visit at a time, but how many different things you can see every time you visit the same place.
Here I want to express my gratefulness to the nature conservationists of the Balkan Wildlife Society, who for years have been trying to revive this spot of great significance, which in the 1930s was artificially dried in order to be converted into cornfields , but everything took a step backwards in the 1990s when the first actions were taken to restore the biggest karst swamp in Bulgaria.
The Dragoman marsh is situated 40 km away from Sofia and 1.5 km from the town of Dragoman;
In the village you can visit the wetlands protected area and exploration center “Dragoman marsh” where you can learn many interesting facts about the marsh and the region, as well as to see the activities that are carried out for the preservation of the area;
The place is suitable for both seasons, for both young and adults, and is the perfect escape for a one-day trip from Sofia;
Do not underestimate the swamp as a tourist destination because it is one of those natural places that features greatest variety and I am convinced that it will impress you;